This has been a topic that i’ve had rattling around in my head for a little while now; in fact it has been something that i thought i might write about since i saw DOOM‘s live action trailer:
I think it’s well-known that i love DOOM, all things DOOM in fact. And i didn’t think it was possible for me to be turned off by an advertisement for DOOM. But holy shit that trailer almost did the trick.
The music for one is terrible, and while i know that some people like that sort of high-pitched screaming to me a game of DOOM is best underscored by something like High on Fire’s Fertile Green. If the trailer’s song is from an album called: The Shape of Punk to Come, then i’ll just avoid all punk from 1998 onward.
As for the visuals, they’re just awkward and slow and don’t communicate anything about the game to me, in fact they do the complete opposite. The editing is really disjointed, hopping from The Doom Marine walking down a hall to action sequence to hallway with very little rhythm that robs that important and refreshing sense of speed in DOOM.
The choreography of a glory kill (at 0:12) lacks any sort of impact, as the Doom Marine slowly hoists the Imp over his shoulder with all of the urgency of someone moving a bag of potatoes, and the violence itself nurtured with muted sound effects, slow pacing, and cutting away at the moment of death to satisfy ratings (i have no idea if this was shown on TV).
Again compare Fight Like Hell to DOOM‘s 2015 E3 trailer:
Don’t you see the difference? It’s all gameplay (in varying builds) footage so it actually shows you the game, communicating the climbing, glory kill, and weapon mechanics with editing so smooth i didn’t even see the transitions the first dozen or so times i watched it. The violence is about a hundred times more visceral and satisfying here, as virtual Doom Marine shows how to properly stomp on a imp at 0:50, and also showing how to properly hurl these hell spawned abominations into solid objects at 0:58.
The saving grace of Fight Like Hell is that it looks expensive, but which one honestly makes you want to play the game instead of watch a DOOM movie?
Another really bad live action trailer that i saw recently is the one for Dishonored 2:
While the production values are quite high, it still manages to look like a bunch of cosplayers posing for pictures and/or doing overly choreographed fights. It’s honestly embarrassing to watch, and it begs the question why it was even made. As the game already had a cinematic trailer that communicates and represents the game better and is less cringy to watch:
and a proper gameplay trailer that previews what the actual game will be like:
So who’s the live action trailer for? People who want to see a movie of Dishonored 2 and/or DOOM? Well i certainly pray we don’t get one as video game movies by and large have a shitty track record, and i would always rather being playing the game then watch a bad movie of it. Also considering the poor optimisation of the PC version of Dishonored 2 at launch i would say the should have dumped all of those extra thousands of dollars spent on this trailer into ironing out hardware issues.
There’s more examples of course, like the one for Black Ops 2:
Again this trailer* doesn’t tell me anything about the game other than present a semi futuristic war setting. I mean is Robert Downy Jr. in the game? Or is he just a celebrity endorsement? Should i recognise the other people in the trailer then (i don’t)? WHY SHOULD I BUY THE GAME???
Another more recent example is the launch trailer for a small indie game called Detention:
Now granted it isn’t all live action, but half the trailer goes by without an actual representation of the game being shown. Case in point: did you know that the game has point and click elements? Well it does, and i don’t think i should have to look for a separate trailer to see how the game plays out:
the first trailer had me thinking it was a side scrolling adventure or RPG in the realm of Limbo or Braid, if i bought that with that expectation i might be taken aback by what the actual game is. Lastly, for Christ’s sakes:
LEARN TO MIX THE FUCKING SOUND AT AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL!!!
I’ll admit that i might be too nitpicky or harsh on these types of trailers, but honestly i see almost no worth to advertising a video game with a live action commercial. As the money could have been spent into other aspects of the game, or into more relevant advertisements.
*In all fairness this is a commercial and not a trailer, there are more than a few of these that are quite good